According to the dictionary, The Life of Riley is defined as “a carefree, comfortable, and thoroughly enjoyable way of living”,,,,,,,,,,, and my husband is living it!
When I ruminate on the nature of my relationship with my partner I can’t help but see some glaring inequities in the split of responsibilities, specifically household responsibilities. Life comes with chores; that’s just the way it is, so it puzzles me to see how men and women differ in their acceptance of said chores. Men don’t see the need in tidying up – “what’s wrong with a little dust?” Laundry only needs washing when one runs out of underwear, right? But the best is “I would do it, but you do it so much better than me.”
I don’t think my husband is unique here. Men in general just don’t place as much importance on the completion of mundane tasks as women do, but they still have to be done, and I think men have figured out that if they put it off long enough women will eventually get tired of nagging and just do it themselves. (they’re smarter than we think,,,who knew?)
Last weekend was Canada Day and we had company coming for dinner on both Saturday and Sunday. Fortunately for me, it rained on both days which meant golf was off and I could count on an extra pair of hands to help prepare our home for company……right? (oh please, don’t make me say it…….WRONG!)
My day started early, preparing food, doing laundry, setting the table and cleaning bathrooms. My darling got up at 9:30, spent his day reading the paper, cover to cover, (he needs to stay informed) watching the LPGA, (just because) and warming various couches and chairs. Thinking he’d eventually realize I was the only one working (how stupid am I?) and that maybe he should contribute, I brought up the vacuum and pointedly left it in the middle of the living room. He stepped around it to get to the computer where he parked himself to indulge in some country music on You Tube. (he got tired of reading) Eventually he got bored here too, and realizing I was finally working upstairs (unclogging the bathroom drain, cause “he doesn’t know how”) he saw an opportunity to turn off my radio (I always have my radio on when cleaning) and switched on the family room tv. By the time I’d finished my chores and taken a quick shower, it was 6:40pm. I came into the kitchen and noted he was now in his lazyboy, sporting a cocktail, when he hollered over his shoulder “what’s for dinner?” I stepped over the vacuum and etched an appropriate expletive in the dust on our coffee table.
Message received. Ten minutes later I could hear the vacuum running throughout the house and the hum of the microwave as he rushed to defrost soup for dinner. (a healthy fear of your wife is good)
Now I can’t lay all the blame on this poor helpless sloth. He was groomed from a young age to do absolutely nothing and I, foolishly and continuously, enabled it over the years. No more.
Three months ago my darling husband of 35 years retired, (one year after I) and despite his resolution to keep active in retirement he’s done nothing (and I mean nothing) to date, except play golf, plan to play golf, and ‘unwind’ (from what?) so I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Putting to an end his “Life of Riley” he now has a ‘to-do’ list on my kitchen cupboard and is required to tackle a minimum of 1 task per week plus help regularly with household chores, daily. No more will he sit idly by while others hustle around him.
Happy wife. Happy life. (or tomorrows headline will read “Recent retiree slain by irate housewife”)
Happy retirement…..to both of us!